Yu Darvish, meet the Big Train

September, 14, 2013
9/14/13
5:01
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Big Train can move over and make room for Yu.

That's how preposterous things are these days for Yu Darvish, who now has his name linked to Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, and not because of strikeout records.

Darvish became just the third pitcher since 1916 to lose four games in a season by a 1-0 score, that after the Rangers again failed to score even a single run behind a dominant start by Darvish. This was the must crushing 1-0 loss of the season, coming against first-place Oakland for the second time and putting the Rangers in a 5 1/2-game hole in the American League West.

Darvish joins Johnson, who had the misfortune of losing 1-0 four times in 1916 -- yep, that's 97 years ago -- and Billy Pierce, who suffered the same awful fate in 1955 with the Chicago White Sox.

Darvish was asked after the game if he had ever heard of the legendary Johnson, who among other things is the all-time leader in major league history with 110 shutouts and second to Cy Young with 417 wins.

"I want to guess," Darvish said. "Is he the last guy that last lost four games 1-0 in one season?"

Darvish learned that Johnson was the second to last after Pierce. Darvish is the first pitcher with as many as four 1-0 losses in a season since Orel Hershiser did so pitching in the National League for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1989.

How is this happening? Simple. The Rangers' offense goes comatose when Darvish pitches.

They have given Darvish two runs or less of support in seven straight games. He actually won the first one, 2-1 against Houston when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. The Rangers have scored a total of 11 runs in the last six games Darvish started for them.

Darvish was asked what his frustration level is after a sixth outing without a win?

"My frustration level is zero," Darvish said. "Every team goes through there good spells and their bad spells. We all have to stick together. We have to do our best and fight forward."

What's distressing about this is that Oakland's run Saturday came with two outs in the first inning. Darvish had a one-out walk to Josh Donaldson, then after getting Jed Lowrie to strike out, Brandon Moss ripped a first-pitch cutter into the right-field corner for a double. Donaldson came all the way from first and scored as Ian Kinsler's relay throw was off line.

And that was it. Darvish had 10 strikeouts, the 12th time in 30 starts he's been in double digits. He didn't have another walk and gave up three more hits. The A's only had one more runner get past second base when Donaldson singled off Darvish in the sixth and stole second base.

"He shut them down," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He gave us a chance. Exactly what his job was today. He did it. We couldn't have asked more."

Well, except for two runs.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.97 142 115
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .341
HRA. Beltre 13
RBIA. Beltre 50
RA. Beltre 50
OPSA. Beltre .929
ERAY. Darvish 2.97
SOY. Darvish 142